Today's POP is Ashley, listening to the early singles by Pusherman and Oasis.
Over the bank holiday weekend I was asked a couple of times to write about Corinne Day. I didn't want to; I felt I had nothing succinct to say. I was just very sad to hear Corinne had lost her long fight against those brain tumours. On Saturday when I'd heard the sad news I had gone for a walk around Regent's Park and, strangely, the keyboard arrangement from Ultravox!'s My Sex was stuck in my head like some plaintive, twisted tribute. I think Corinne would have approved, actually.
Perhaps I should have accepted a commission and donated the money to an appropriate charity. But I can make a donation anyway. And here are some personal memories that have come to mind:
1. Corinne locking herself into the ladies loo at The Face.
I had started writing for The Face while still a student, just as Corinne's early work began to define that brilliant magazine's identity. I was in awe of her via those early pictures (the '3rd Summer Of Love' cover most of all, naturally). When I began to turn up regularly at The Face's new Clerkenwell office space I soon realised Corinne was a controversial figure. She'd arrive armed with a half dozen fantastic prints but then decide she actually only liked a couple. She'd debate over all her layouts. When the Art Director position at The Face changed, things soon came to a head. Corinne retreated to the ladies loo. Locked herself in. With her pictures. Wouldn't come out for an hour or so. Brilliant.
This was in 1991 I guess.
2. Corinne at a party telling me, "The truth is heroin often leads to great art."
Oasis had become huge and in many respects The Face was this band's key champion. Corinne had drifted from the magazine pretty much by now, and I suspected she thought I was Judas. In partnership with Lee Swillingham I had began pushing a very polished 'strange disco' aesthetic at the magazine. Inez was in, Corinne was kind of out. It certainly wasn't personal.
But Oasis were where Corinne and I still met ways. Her boyfriend Mark Szaszy was directing one of the early videos (Live Forever I think), and Corinne and I had been down the front at a lot of those early London gigs. At around this time, Corinne began hanging out with the band Pusherman and documenting the life of Tara St Hill. When she showed me those first pictures of Tara at The Face office they scared me. Truly, I was frightened. And I really didn't want to publish those pictures.
"Heroin leads to great art, it's the truth and people are afraid of writing the truth," Corinne told me one night at a party. I think we talked about Blondie and about Iggy. I think I drunkenly babbled about cocaine addiction too and about Roxy Music's Avalon and Bowie's Station To Station. We laughed together. Clearly, I wasn't quite Judas in Corinne's eyes, which seemed important somehow. By 1994, I was quite anti-drugs and Corinne clearly wasn't a smack head at all. Just a very good photographer going in a direction I really didn't appreciate.
She was somewhat right about drugs and art. Later on today I am going to play Station To Station. Great record, crap drugs.
3. Walking in Cornwall in 2000 with Juergen Teller and him telling me, "Corinne is brilliant I think."
The fashion industry had clearly moved on and advertising money was suddenly sloshing about. But not many fashion photographers' pictures looked like they came from any place of real personal conviction. I had seen Corinne hanging outside a fashion show in Paris, waiting to get let in. We had kissed and exchanged news. In my head I had thought "Fuck, you're better than all this shit, stop hanging outside rubbish fashion shows…"
I approached Corinne and asked her to shoot for Arena Homme Plus. The pictures were good. Corinne opted to shoot in the bedroom of the then-emergent stylist Panos Yiapanis. They had been close friends when he first arrived in London. "This shoot was such a nightmare," said Panos. "Really, never again."
He wasn't the first to say this. But we did all go back.
4. Corinne's participation in the National Portrait Gallery's 'Face Of Fashion' Exhibition in 2007.
Whose work at this exhibition really stood up to being hung on a major public gallery's walls? The truth is so many big name fashion photographers who followed in Corinne's wake are just shooting derivative digital rubbish with their budget-obsessed agents as idiot cheerleaders. The standards at this exhibition were in parts lamentable.
Corinne stood out as having some really good pictures on show at the NPG. A couple of months ago, I left the POP office in Mayfair and, by chance, wandered into the Gimpel Fils gallery just round the corner. It was a group show with a striking Corinne Day study of urban decadence hung on the right-hand wall. I stood and looked at it for a good five minutes. Yes, Corinne Day was brilliant.
Remember: without The Face, no POP. Without Corinne Day, no The Face as it is so fondly remembered.
Rest In Peace Corinne. X
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You’re currently reading “POP 382 Wednesday 1 September 2010”, an entry on THEPOP.COM
- 01.09.10 / 2pm
- Corinne Day, David Bowie, Juergen Teller, Lee Swillingham, Mark Szaszy, Oasis, Panos Yiapanis, Roxy Music, The Face, Ultravox